Mac Basics: QuickTime Player
QuickTime Player lets you play back your media using an uncluttered interface with controls that fade out when they’re not needed.
Learn about QuickTime Player's media sharing, flexible recording capabilities, and simple media trimming and combining features.
How to use QuickTime Player to play media files on your Mac
QuickTime Player is a great application for playing media content, including HD (high definition) video in OS X. QuickTime Player supports many modern codecs and file formats, so simply double-click your media file in the Finder and it will open in QuickTime Player. If a media file doesn't automatically open in QuickTime Player by double-clicking it, you can choose File > Open File, browse to the file's location, and select it. Additionally, you can open a streaming media file (or event) by clicking the File menu and then choosing Open Location and entering the Internet address (the URL) for the movie file.
The playback controls in QuickTime Player work simply with Rewind and Fast Forward buttons, and with the Play button handling both playback and stopping.
The timeline at the very bottom of the player shows your current viewing progress and can be dragged (left or right) to move to a desired position or time. This is helpful for moving through lengthy media files, especially when searching for a specific moment or event. The total playback time remaining is listed on the bottom-right corner of the playback controls when the controls are open. If you want to see the lenght of the clip, just click on the time remaining.
Note that the controls fade out when they’re not needed.
Full-screen in QuickTime
QuickTime Player use the full-screen features built-in to OS X to give you maximum screen viewing space of your movies or clips. To make QuickTime Player fill your entire screen, click the full-screen button, which is located on the top-right of the playback controls or in the top-right of the QuickTime Player window with two arrows pointing outwards. While you are in full screen you can switch to another app without leaving full-screen by swiping left or right using three fingers. The menu bar will appear if you move the pointer to the top of the screen. From there, you can click the View menu and select one of several scaling modes to find the perfect fit for you display. To make the screen go back to its original size, simply click the Full Screen button once again or press Escape (esc).
Supported media file formats
QuickTime Player supports a wide variety of popular audio and video file formats and codecs. To learn more, see Media formats supported by QuickTime Player.
About audio and movie recording in QuickTime Player
You can make a movie using QuickTime Player and the camera in your Mac by clicking the File menu and choosing New Movie Recording. When the recording interface appears, the FaceTime or iSight camera becomes active (a green light appears by your Mac's built-in camera). Simply press the circular record button once to start or stop your recording.
Click the triangle icon to display a menu of additional options, such as whether to use your Mac's built-in camera or an external camera you've connected to your Mac, and what the finished quality of your recording should be.
To make an audio-only recording, simply choose New Audio Recording from the File menu. Press the circular record button once to start or stop your recording. You will notice that the current running file size is displayed on the bottom right of the controls while you're recording; this changes to the total elapsed time when you stop recording. The sound meter (located at the bottom of the controls) makes it easy to ensure your volume level is consistent, and is helpful for making sure you're sitting an appropriate distance from the microphone. About 21 inches of distance between you and the microphone is a good place to start.
Clicking the triangle gives you additional options, such as letting you choose whether to use the built-in microphone on your Mac, an external microphone you've connected to your Mac, a microphone from a connected Apple display, and lets you adjust the finished quality of your recording.
Tip: Changing the quality from High to Maximum will produce a very high-quality uncompressed movie file. However, uncompressed audio files can use large amounts of disk space.
Export audio only using QuickTime Player
QuickTime Player gives you the option of exporting and sharing only the audio portion of your video. To export only the audio portion of your video, open your video in QuickTime Player. Choose Export from the File menu. Type a name in the “Export As” field. Then from the Format pop-up menu, choose “Audio Only” and click Export.
Record your screen
You can use QuickTime Player to make a video recording of your screen or just a region of your screen and save it as a movie file for later viewing. This can be helpful for showing others how to perform a task, workflow, or for training.
Choose File > New Screen Recording. To start recording what's occurring on your Mac's screen, click the round record button.
You can record some of all of the screen:
- If you want to record the entire screen, click anywhere on the screen to start recording.
- To record just a smaller portion of the of the screen, drag your pointer to select the region of the screen you want to record, and then click the Start Recording button within the region.
To stop recording, click the stop button in the menu bar, or press the Command-Control-Escape key combination (all at once) on the keyboard.
Clicking the triangle icon gives you additional options, such as letting you choose whether to use the built-in microphone on your Mac, an external microphone you've connected to your Mac, a microphone from a connected Apple display, or the option to simply use no microphone at all. The triangle also allows you to adjust the finished quality of your screen recording, select whether or not your mouse clicks are shown during the recording (the pointer is highlighted when you click), and to select what location (on your Mac) to save your screen recording when finished.
Tip: Changing the quality from Medium to High will result in higher-quality movie file with a larger file size.
Trim media files
To quickly edit media files:
- Open the file in QuickTime Player.
- Choose Edit > Trim. The trimming bar appears.
Note: In OS X Lion, you can also click the arrow icon () that is to the right of the Fast Forward button, then in the menu that opens, choose Trim.
- To select the portion of the recording you want to keep, drag the yellow trimming bar handles to the left and right as desired.
- When you are ready, simply click Trim. The unwanted footage outside the the yellow trimming bar is removed.
Rotate or flip clips
If you have a clip that is upside down or sideways, you can rotate or flip it to correct it. To rotate or flip a clip, open them in QuickTime player. Then from the Edit menu choose Rotate Left, Rotate Right, Flip Horizontal, or Flip Vertical depending on the rotation or flip need to correct the clip.
Sharing your media files
You can easily share your media files with others via email, chat, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, and other ways.
- Double-click the media file that you want to share if it's not open.
- Click the arrow icon () that is to the right of the Fast Forward button.
- In the menu that opens, choose Email, Message, AirDrop, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, or Flickr.
Menu choices in OS X Mountain Lion
- OS X Lion: The choices in OS X Lion v10.7.5 are iTunes, YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, Facebook, Mail, and Trim. If you choose iTunes, you'll be asked if you want to save your file for best viewing on an iPhone or iPod, an Apple TV, or a computer, and then save the file in your iTunes library for easy syncing.
- OS X Mountain Lion tip: If you want to export to iTunes, you can choose File > Export To > iTunes.
- If you choose AirDrop, you can share to another nearby Mac that has AirDrop turned on. If no nearby Mac with AirDrop is detected, this message will appear: "Other people nearby need to open AirDrop in the Finder in order to receive this file."
- If you choose YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, or Facebook, you'll be asked to log in if necessary before sharing your file:
(For Vimeo, Flickr, and Facebook you will be redirected to System Preferences to log in.)
In QuickTime Player, you can combine multiple clips, or combine them with an entire movie. To add a clip or entire movie to your movie, open your movie in QuickTime Player, then drag the clip or movie you want into your movie window. QuickTime Player will automatically scale or crop the clip or movie to match your movie.
Tip: Want to learn more about QuickTime Player? Check out the built-in QuickTime Player Help on your Mac (in QuickTime Player, choose QuickTime Player Help from the Help menu).
You can also visit the QuickTime Support Page for both Mac and PC. The QuickTime Support Page includes manuals, QuickTime downloads, QuickTime-specific discussions forums, and popular QuickTime Knowledge Base articles.